Cabal was written in what could be termed the original ‘heyday’ of Clive Barker’s horror reign. Clive Barker is best known for the tricksy Cenobites and the ruthless Candyman, but Cabal presented a brilliantly realised clutch of monsters who were actually the victims and living as refugees from the harsh prejudices of the modern world. With their numbers depleted, the monsters took shelter underground, in the appropriately named graveyard of Midian, in an effort to avoid further destruction from frightened humans. Although you would be a fool if you weren’t a little afraid of the creatures, the point is that the world is a poorer place without their glorious strangeness. It’s a bit like angle taken later by the X-Men movies, only a lot more visceral.
The essence of Cabal’s story was adapted into the movie Nightbreed, the new title which is actually a collective term for the monsters. A ‘troubled young man’™ named Boon is gradually drawn to their hiding spot through a series of strange dreams, and his psychiatrist (played with cool creepiness by director David Cronenberg) seems to be hiding some rather dark secrets of his own. The ancient secrets of Midian will soon be revealed to a terrified human populace, but who is truly monstrous is up for some debate.
When Nightbreed was first screened in 1990, it was heavily mutilated by the studios, and rumours proliferated of a more extensive, intelligent, and downright better cut that was a bit more faithful to the book. This ‘Cabal Cut’ was finally glimpsed at Frightfest London in 2012 and other screenings can be tracked down here.
Now, the wonderful website following the re-released cut, Occupy Midian, continues to post information about this elusive beast. Until Nightbreed’s better self gets released in its full glory on blu-ray and DVD, it’s well worth looking out for a screening of this cut at a film festival.
The Eyeball is keeping its lashes crossed that soon the Cabal Cut will pop up in the UK again – and is still annoyed about missing it at Frightfest last year. Until the Cabal Cut is made widely available, there’s still an uncut Region 1 DVD of the 1990 version out there, and the book to enjoy. But do check out the movie. Monsters are awesome. Midian is waiting.